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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Retro-Electro – Electronic Porn

Comments (7)

My long time friend Scott Moody once told me that “old computers are like porn to me.”  I agree – over the years I’ve spend my fair share of money and time on eBay buying old video games and computers (many of which either reside at my office or at friends’ houses.)  One of the recipients of my old computer collection – Jenny Lawton (proud guardian of a TRS-80 Model 1) sent me a copy of Retro-Electric.  This beautiful book is the computer porn equivalent of Playboy’s 50th Anniversary Issue (actually – my guess is that Retro-Electric is much much better.)

The pictures are gorgeous and the text descriptions are remarkably interesting (although I mostly looked at the pictures.)  The book is broken into three sections: (1) Workstation, (2) Home Base, and (3) Playtime.  I’ll give you a sampling from things that I actually owned at one time or another.

Workstation: Sharp EL-8, HP-35, HP-65 (actually, I had the HP-58a), Apple II, Casio FX-2000 (my all time favorite calculator), Radio Shack TRS80 1, IBM Personal Computer, Apple Lisa, Apple Macintosh Classic, Apple Newton, Palm Pilot Personal, Apple iMac, and HP iPaq. The Clive Sinclair products (I never had any of them) dominate this section early on and provide a great history of the calculator business.

Home Base: Lava Lamp, Trimphone, Bang & Olufsen Beogram 4000 (I didn’t have a 4000, but I had something close), Polaroid SX70 Land Camera, Seiko LCD Watch, Sony Walkman, President CB Radio (I don’t remember if we had a President, but we had a model that looked just like this one), Philips VLP700 Laservision Player, Sony Watchman Pocket TV, Swatch Watch, Braun Voice Control Alarm Clock (I didn’t have the voice control, but I still use the same model from 1984 without the voice control), Freeplay Wind-Up Radio, and the currently ubiquitous Apple iPod.

Playtime: Magnavox Odyssey (I never had one but I had a friend that did and remember playing it for N hours where N = much too large a number), Atari 2600, Mattel Electronics Football (still my favorite handheld electronic toy), Milton Bradley Simon, TI Speak and Spell, Atari 400, Palitoy Merlin, Sinclair ZX-81 (ok – I had one Sinclair thing), Nintendo 64, Tamagotchi, Sony Aibo, Sony PS2, and a Microsoft XBox.

Thankfully, this is only about 10% of the items listed in the book – my electronic junkyard is already overwhelming.  I’ll just stick with pictures for the balance of them.

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